Tag Archives: Toys and Games

Play Merrily toy review, Djeco Jigsaws

23 Mar

We were recently sent some puzzles to review by a lovely lady called Merry.  Merry sells a huge range of toys on her website Play Merrily and, like us, they are a family business – her’s started from her kitchen cupboard! She has such a wide range of good quality toys on her website, many are that little bit different and not the sort of thing we would find on the high street in Plymouth.

We were sent two Djeco puzzles. One was a 54 piece Fairy Castle Jigsaw and the other, a 54 piece Pirate Ship, the perfect choice for our 5 year old and 3 year old.  Our 3 year old son Thomas, is a puzzle fanatic – he loves them! I thought he might struggle a little with this one as it is a lot of pieces for a just turned 3 year old.  He loved it! The picture on this puzzle is so intricate that it kept him fascinated for ages the first time he put it together and now he keeps coming back to it time and time again. There are so many hidden stories in this puzzle and so many amusing things happening when you look closely.

I think this is a puzzle that will stay on our shelves for many years, it continues to capture his imagination every time.  The pieces are excellent quality and although it has now been used almost daily for a few weeks, it still looks like new.

The puzzle says it is for age 5+ and I would say this is about right.  I think the fact that he can manage it is purely down to his addiction to puzzles over the last few months.

The finished puzzle!

Fairy Castle Jigsaw

The second puzzle we were sent was the Fairy Castle Jigsaw  also from the Djeco range.  My 5 year old daughter tested this one out.  Lily has never been a fan of puzzles. She would much rather be doing something else than having to sit still for the time it takes to complete a puzzle! I didn’t really expect much interest from her when she saw this but she was instantly excited.  The jigsaw comes in a Castle-shaped box and I think this grabbed her from the start.

This puzzle has a beautiful design, with bright colours and intricate details. She was fascinated by all the little fairies flitting around in the picture and she quite happily sat and finished this puzzle with some help.  She has come back to it time and again, which is VERY unusual for Lily.  Again, I am sure this will be a puzzle that we keep for a long time.

These would make wonderful presents for children’s birthdays and at £9.95 I think that is a really reasonable price for a quality jigsaw.  You can also get free delivery over £15 which is always a winner for me.

Merry also writes a wonderful blog Patch of Puddles about Home Educating and Neonatal loss, I’m not sure how she finds the time but it is a wonderful read.  It is inspiring and heartwarming and when I read it, I find that it makes me want to be the best mother I can be.  I’m still working on that one….

Keep cabin fever at bay with our rainy day play ideas

22 Jan

We do our fair share of standing about in freezing cold parks and playgrounds but sometimes you just want to put the heating on and stay indoors. Here is our top ten list of ideas for keeping cabin fever at bay.

Make a Den

Grab a few blankets and pillows and make a little hideout for the children.  Our children love having a den under the dining room table (I don’t know why, it’s very uncomfortable!) Add a few den essentials like torches, binoculars and drawing equipment and they’ll love it.


It doesn’t have to be anything amazing, just some simple buns or biscuits will keep them amused.  Don’t forget to pull a chair up to the kitchen sink and let them help with washing up – they love it! Be sure to remove any sharp or breakable objects from the area before they start.

Who says dishwashers are expensive?

Start a band

Gather together all your musical instruments, put on some backing music and just go with the flow.  If you don’t have any musical instruments just use some pots and pans from the cupboards and some wooden spoons – hey presto you have a drum kit!

Treasure Hunt

Design an indoor treasure hunt. This could be  picture clues for younger children but for older children you can design simple or more complex written clues.  Hide some treasure or treats at the end of the trail. Scavenger Hunts for Kids have free printable treasure hunts for inside or out, many are themed and brilliant for birthday parties. Scavenger hunt riddles are also available on the internet, or you could get creative and make up your own!

Go to school

Children love to play schools.  Set out some pens and papers, pack a little snack and head off to school. I don’t mean actually go to school, I mean a pretend school in the next room.  The children will love it if you be the teacher and pretend to take the register and set tasks for them. If you have more than one child they will probably end up taking it in turns to be the teacher and you might even find you get the chance for a cup of tea in peace!

Put on a show

Encourage your children to put on a show. This could be one that they make up themselves or if they are younger it might help if you read their favourite story and they take on their favourite characters from it. Encourage them to dress up before hand and find any props they might need.  If you have a video camera why not video it so you can share it with grandparents.

Have a teddy bear’s picnic

Make and write some invitations to a special tea party. Your child can deliver the invitations to her special dolls and teddies and everyone can enjoy an afternoon with tea and cake (did someone mention cake?!)

Fun with a box!

Have you got a large cardboard box that you don’t need? Why not turn it into a boat, a car or even a house? Or just give the children some felt tips or paints and let their imagination go wild. See what they manage to turn the box into.  They might need some helping with cutting holes in it – or adding blankets or pillows.  We turned this big box into an aeroplane and Lily and Thomas love it.  We’ve also made a ‘departure lounge’ and designed passports and tickets to use with our aeroplane role-play. If you are looking for ideas on what to do with your cardboard box have a look at this brilliant link.

All aboard for Grandma and Grandad’s house

Get out those puzzles and games.

With busy days spent dashing here and there we hardly have time for puzzles and games. Rainy days are a great opportunity to re-discover them.

Arts and Crafts

Children love getting crafty. If you’re not sure where to start have a look at Red Ted’s Art  or The Imagination Tree for some brilliant craft ideas

What are your favourite rainy day activities?